Birds and aircraft must share the sky, but search the terms “bird” and “plane” together on Google, and you’ll see that the two don’t always get along. There are bird strikes all over the world, resulting in emergency landings and damaged aircraft. The aviation industry spends a minimum of US$1.2 billion (888 million euros) per year on bird strike damage and delays, estimates John Allan, head of the national wildlife management center, which is part of the UK Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency. Airports aren’t just hubs where cargo flies to its destination; they are wildlife habitats where birds and other animals thrive – and airports must manage birds in order to protect planes.“The challenge is as we have clear zones on the approach and departure ends of our airport, as do all airports,” Steve Osmek, airport wildlife biologist at the Port of Seattle, says. “Frequently, if they are in urban areas like we are, it tends to be some of the last real good quality habitat for wildlife, including hazardous wildlife.”
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